Breeding organic winter wheat for dry low input conditions

With available winter wheat varieties it is very difficult to get baking quality on sandy soils in north-east of Germany under organic farming. Usually more starch related to gluten content is produced and the minimum level of 21% of wet gluten is ordinarily missed. In addition most of the farms in this area have relatively low amounts of organic fertilizers, because they cannot keep many cows on small areas of grassland and low yielding fodder crops. For this reason in particular high quality organic winter wheat varieties are necessary to get flour for the market demands. At Cereal Breeding Reseach Darzau we try to develop such winter wheat varieties with high baking quality when grown on poorer grounds. In addition we select for resistence to loose smut and common bunt because continuous multiplication of seed under organic farming becomes more practically. Because high gluten content is only possible with lower yield and relatively week gluten, but not every field or farm needs the highest quality, we developed a concept of two-line-seed, which needs two wheat varieties. One variety on a subprime quality level and one variety with a high quality level. The subprime variety gives basic yield on a gluten level just above the border on medium grounds and the high quality variety lifts the gluten content up to necessary amounts. Results up today showed that in most cases with only 30% of the high quality varietey mixed under the seed of the subprime variety it is possible to get best baking quality with only 5% less yield related to the variety with better yield but lower gluten content.
Scientist interested in doing research with our varieties under similar circumstances are welcome.

Last changed: 22.11.2012